All posts by Anna Foley

Planned Parenthood braces for a fight for the future of women’s choice

By Anna Foley

After the Nov. 8 election, Lauren Zeitz was among the thousands of people who decided to donate to Planned Parenthood to send a message: She’s not going to stop fighting for reproductive health care.

“My mom and I decided to make this donatation together because we agree that an attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women’s health,” said Zeist, a Northern Illinois University student and Rockford native.

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IUDs poised for quick, strong renaissance before Trump takes office

By Anna Foley

Nina Berman is a longtime fan of IUDs, otherwise known as intrauterine birth control devices (the T-shaped ones). But after the election of Donald Trump last week, Berman noticed she wasn’t the only one. She saw more and more of her friends announcing on social media plans to get the long-term use IUDs.

As women re-evaluate birth control options in the face of a new White House administration hostile to the notion of women’s agency and choice, Berman wanted to join the conversation. So she created a sew-on patch out of coarse, brown fabric depicting a cartoon outline of an IUD, announcing, “Ask me about my IUD.”

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#WearWhiteToVote celebrates women’s suffrage struggle on Election Day

By Anna Foley

Wearing white after Labor Day has long been considered  a fashion faux pas in many circles. Yet Paola Aguilar is donning the out-of-season style today for a very specific reason: to pay tribute to the feminist movement when she casts her vote in the 2016 election.

“As a feminist, I believe that part of wanting the advancement of gender equality is also recognizing what has already been done by other women,” said Aguilar, a University of Idaho student.

The color white, has deep roots in the feminist movement. It was one of the main colors suffragettes wore as they fought for the right to vote at the turn of the century. The color played into certain cultural perceptions of women in the early 20th century, according to Kate Haulman, a history professor at  an American University.

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Knitted Knockers: Changing the pattern of breast cancer

By Anna Foley

For Chrysanthi Koutsiviti, knitting is more than just pushing a piece of yarn back and forth between needles — it’s an expression of compassion for breast cancer survivors.

“I’m knitting with a purpose for people who need it, and it’s so fulfilling,” Koutsiviti said. “Knitting is a way to show people love.”

That love is one of the reasons Koutsiviti, along with several other women, gathered at the Currency Exchange Café in Washington Park one gray afternoon in October. They turned their hobby into an expression of love by knitting soft, adjustable breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies. The prostheses are affectionately dubbed “knitted knockers.”

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Chicago women call foul on Trump’s ‘Grab ’em’ comments at #GOPHandsOffMe protest

By Anna Foley and Teresa Manring

Women activists in Chicago want Republicans to take their hands off them–quite literally. Nearly 200 of them chanted their outrage early Tuesday morning outside Trump Tower as part of a national movement: #GOPHandsOffMe.

“The Republican party right now has just kind of gotten so far off. They have absolutely no respect for women, they are taking way too much interest in women’s bodies,” said Lindsay Cogan, who helped organize the event. “Just get away. Let me do my own thing with my body,” Cogan added.

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Study finds widespread sexual harassment toward Chicago’s female hospitality workers

By Anna Foley

Kasey Nalls was 23 when she started her first casino job in northwest Indiana, clad in a tight blue velveteen uniform, serving drinks as a cocktail waitress.

During her first shift, Nalls said a male patron approached and said: “I’ve got the cock, you’ve got the tail.”

According to a new study conducted by Chicago’s Unite Here Local 1, Nalls’ experience is common. After surveying nearly 500 female hospitality workers at dozens of hotels and casinos in the Chicago area, the study found 77 percent of female casino workers surveyed had been sexually harassed by a guest. Additionally, 58 percent of female hotel workers reported sexual harassment from patrons.

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Rally: Domestic violence survivors stand in solidarity with Bresha Meadows

By Anna Foley

When Ohio teen Bresha Meadows heads to a pretrial hearing Thursday, accused of shooting and killing her allegedly abusive father, she’ll be on the minds of dozens of Chicagoans who have been touched by domestic violence.

On July 28, Bresha, 15, allegedly shot her father, Jonathan Meadows, in the head as he slept in the family’s living room. Bresha’s aunt, Sheri Latessa, said the man had been abusing and threatening the family for years.

The Bresha Meadows case is a timely example of the high-stakes situations families face when living with an abuser. As part of a kickoff for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Bresha’s story stood at the center of a “free to survive” rally Wednesday outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.

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Pro-choicers aim to lift limits of 40-year-old federal abortion access law

By Anna Foley

In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, the law that placed heavy limitations on using federal money for abortion. The law may have just turned 40, but it’s still facing serious contention today.

Pro-choice advocates say the law is particularly damaging to specific groups of American women and aim to repeal it.

“It has a devastating effect across the country on low-income women, young women, women of color,” said Amy Meeks, a women’s reproductive rights attorney at American Civil Liberties Union Chicago.

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